STATE BY STATE

Bear Hunting In Wyoming

Hunting Methods - Baiting -Fair Chase

Grizzly bears were portrayed as vicious man eaters by early settlers, and people were encouraged to kill them. After years of indiscriminately killing grizzly bears, they were pushed to the brink of extinction. In an effort to protect the rapidly declining grizzly bear population, they were listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1974. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department approved a grizzly bear hunt in 2018, claiming that the population had rebounded. Many people advocated against the hunt, and it was ultimately halted when U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen voted it down.

When Did Bear Hunting Start In Wyoming?

In 1911, black bears were officially classified as a big game animal and re-classified in 1978 to trophy game animals. 

Is The State Broken Down Into BMUs (Bear management units)?

The whole state is broken down into 35 Black Bear Hunt Areas (BHAs), excluding Yellowstone National Park.

When Is Bear Hunting Season?

Special Archery;

  • BHA 1-4: May 1-14

  • BHA 8: Sep. 15-30

  • BHA 9 & 12: Apr. 15–30 and Sep. 1-30

  • BHA 10: Apr. 15-30 and Aug. 1-Sep. 30

  • BHA 13: Apr. 15-30

  • BHA 14-22, 24-27 & 29: Apr. 15-30 Aug. 15-31

  • BHA 23, 28 & 31: Apr. 15-30 Aug. 1-14

  • BHA 32: Apr. 15-30

General; Spring and Fall:

  • BHA 1-4, 7, 11, 13-18, 20-22, 24-27, 29 & 30: May 1-June 15 and Sep. 1-Oct. 31

  • BHA 5 & 6: May 1-June 15 Aug. 15-Nov. 15

  • BHA 8: Apr. 15-June 7 and Oct. 1-Oct. 31

  • BHA 9, 10 & 12: May 1-June 15 Oct. 1-31

  • BHA 28 & 31: May 1-June 15 and Aug. 15-Oct. 31

  • BHA 32: May 1-June 15 and Aug. 1-Nov. 15

  • BHA 33 & 35: Apr. 15-June 15 and Aug. 1-Oct. 31

Note: All areas are open to bear-baiting except for the following Bear Hunt Areas: 22, 25, 26, 32. Any areas of these Bear Hunt Areas that are National Forests, Bureau of Land Management areas, or Grizzly Management Areas are also closed to baiting.

What Weapons Are Permitted?

Archery; Longbows, recurve bows and compound bows with a minimum draw weight of 40 pounds; Crossbows with a minimum draw weight of 90 pounds and a bolt of at least sixteen inches in length; Broadhead arrows or bolts no larger than 7/8 inch when fully expanded.

Firearms; Center‐fire firearms of at least .24 caliber; Firearms of at least .35 caliber and at least 1.5 inches in overall length and using an expanding point bullet; Shotguns that fire “00” or larger buckshot, or a slug; Muzzleloading rifles and handguns of at least .40 caliber.

Can Hunters Kill Cubs?

No. Killing cubs or mothers with cubs is not legal.

 

Can Hunters Kill A Bear Over Bait?

Yes. Baiting black bears is legal.

 

Is Dog Hunting Permitted In Wyoming?

No. Dog hunting is not permitted. 

 

What Procedure Must Hunters Follow After They Kill A Bear?

Hunters have 72 hours after taking a black bear to present the (unfrozen) carcass with the pelt with the skull to either a district game warden, district wildlife biologist, or department personnel at a Department Regional Office. Any hunter taking a black bear in designated wilderness areas in hunt areas 13, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, or 28 shall report their harvest by telephone or in-person within 72  hours. They also must present the pelt and skull to a district game warden, district wildlife biologist, or Department personnel at a Department Regional Office within 10 days from the date of harvest or within 3 days after returning from a designated wilderness area.

What Is Their Reasoning For Hunting Bears?

  • Regulating bear population

  • Controlling nuisance problems

  • Recreational opportunity for sportsmen and women

What Is The Government Organization(s), That Is In Charge Of Bear Hunting/Wildlife?

Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) - https://wgfd.wyo.gov/

Wyoming Wildlife Federation - https://wyomingwildlife.org/

When Does The Wyoming Game and Fish Department Hold Their Meetings?

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department meeting dates, times and locations can be found here -  https://wgfd.wyo.gov/About-Us/Game-and-Fish-Commission/Game-and-Fish-Commission-Schedule


Are The Meeting Open To The Public?

The meetings are open to the public, and dates, times and locations can be found here - https://wgfd.wyo.gov/About-Us/Game-and-Fish-Commission/Game-and-Fish-Commission-Schedule


Who Has The Power To Stop The Hunt?

The Governor and Wyoming’s elected General Assembly Members have the power to introduce and vote on proposed law changes.

Peter Dube, President of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department Commission

Groups And Organizations That Oppose Bear Hunting

Center for Biological Diversity- https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2018/grizzly-bear-03-09-2018.php

Earth Justice - https://earthjustice.org/

National Park Conservation Association - https://www.npca.org/
 

Hunt Clubs And Organizations That Participate In And Fund Bear Hunting.

Wyoming Game and Fish Department - https://wgfd.wyo.gov/

Out West Safaris - http://www.outwestsafaris.com/BlackBear.html

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